Top 10 SEM Myths That Make You Want to Blow Your Brains Out
No matter how big or small the client, your success with them is will be shaped by how effectively you communicate with them about what to expect when working with your firm. It is fact, like most other industries, the search marketing field is very broad and has many acronyms that even the best of us get confused by on occasion. So, why do we expect our clients to get it the first time?
Here’s an exercise: picture yourself when you first started search marketing and the level of knowledge you had. Got it? Now picture your old self as a current prospect. Isn’t that image scary? Where do you even begin? I usually start with day one of the internet. No really, I give it to them straight up old school, considering the average persons understanding of how the internet works is stuck back in the 90′s with altavista and meta tagging, so, if you want to hook them, you’ve got to start there. If you can keep them interested all the way to 2009, you’ve got a shot at a healthy relationship. Its important that you feel out the level of understanding your prospect has about the search engine marketing before attempting to connect the dots. So, during that process be aware of these misconceptions that you’ll undoubtedly run into. You can choose to run for the hills or expect to ramp up your communications, leaving no gap in knowledge or room for misunderstanding.
Myth Numero Uno: “My Domain Came SEO Optimized”
First of all, SEO can’t possibly come with your domain. A single domain with no pages or content is only as good as its name, there is nothing else to be “SEO’d.” That said, picking a name is extremely important, because, in our world, you’re stuck with it. You can’t decide that on one random day that you’d prefer another domain and just change your name and that’s that. To avoid a giant seo nightmare, when you’re planning your concept, leave the name for last… right before you develop the site.
Myth Numero Dos: “I was Told Flash is the Best Type of Website… and I Want it”
Flash is so pretty. I love flash. My website won’t work without flash. I can’t achieve the same objectives without flash. SEO websites are ugly, mine is flash based. I know the secret to ranking an entirely flash based website.
I have heard all of these comments. Let’s set the record straight, flash allows you to do some pretty awesome things from a design/user experience basis but for SEO, it’s still useless garbage. So, what we usually go for if the client is hellbent on flash movies and loading bars is to seamlessly integrate the two.
Having a website whose infrastructure is built with solid html, thousands of indexable pages with dynamic content and tastefully created flash movies is the perfect combination of glitz, glam and pragmatic design. Your customers will be pleasantly surprised and so will the search engines.
Myth Numero Tres: “You Can Achieve #1 Position by Injecting Some Tags and/or Submitting to Google”
Meta tags are SO TIRED AND OLD. I mean, yes, all websites should have them just so when a client looks at your source code, meta tags exist, then your client will immediately assume that you’ve must be doing something right. Thats about all they’re good for nowadays. The days of SEO being a quick index.html file open, find/replace, use of permutation tools is over (unless you’re doing some PPC). There are literally hundreds of more important factors than how many meta tags you’ve got shoved in.
My buddy knows someone who can submit my website to the top of Google.
Yeah? What does that even mean? Where do you go to submit your site? Is that like the DMV where you go to register your car? Do they take credit cards?
The odd thing is that there are others within this industry that make money by convincing ill-informed people with money to pay them in exchange for submitting their website to the top of google. Lies.
Build an awesome website that is compliant with 100′s of SEO rules of thumb (which change often) + Build 1000′s of quality in-bound links = a start to a successful website.
After you can master that equation, we move onto calculus and testing. Its not an exact science, every website is different and operates in a niche with unique limits/obstacles but getting your website to the top has nothing to do with contacting google. In fact, they contact you. robots.txt
Myth Numero Quatro: Anything Worthwhile Usually Takes More Than a Day to Build. Rome did. Your Successful Website Will Too.
Just like there is no Google submission committee where you’re website is denied or approved, there is no such thing as overnight results in the seo/sem world. If you’re looking for that, PPC is your way to go and in some cases, a great way to test your longer term SEO efforts and keyword targeting.
In fact, the process of working on a search marketing project should be a long term, healthy relationship based on a slow to moderate rise in rankings, traffic and sales. Depending on the talents of the SEO firm, this may take 2-3 months or 2-3 years based on the strategy they execute and the tools they deploy. What is strange to me is that its common in the SEO world, despite the better judgement of any mildly successful SEO to oversell and under-deliver. Logically, if you tell someone to expect a filet and give them ground beef, they’re going to be unhappy. Be sure to educate your prospect on what to expect, how long they will have to wait for gratification and why it takes so long to achieve the outlined results. Or, if you like being dropped like a fly- show ‘em a filet.
Myth Numero Cinco: “Rankings are Permanent”
There is nothing permanent about the search engines besides fluctuation in the SERP’s and the need for a stellar SEO team to make sure your website is growing at a rate faster than anyone else in that niche. The goal is to become competitive and continue the rate of progression so that no other website can catch up. Sounds easy, right? Some niches are easier than others. If you’re just starting, make sure your research is done meticulously well and the pro’s outweigh the con’s.
Myth Numero Seis: “Ranking Number One for One Keyword is an Actual Search Strategy”
“I want to rank number-one for cleaning.” Sure you do. But why not expand your horizons and realize that while ranking number one for cleaning, if achieved, is probably only a fraction of the relevant traffic on the internet looking for what you’re offering. The process of getting your website to rank for 10000 tangentially related keywords (long tail) vs. “cleaning” would consist of an inherently different strategy and would need to be planned from the get-go. Again, I can’t stress the words “Keyword Research” enough here.
Myth Numero Siete: “My Sister is a Social Media Expert”
And my poodle is a brain surgeon. The hot marketing buzz word right now is SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING. Just because you poke your girlfriend on facebook or retweet her useless comments of the day, does not mean that you know social media marketing. Knowing how to operate an account and leveraging an entire network of people for the benefit of a single user are two different things and the latter takes a skill that can’t be created overnight and should be taken much more seriously than most people do.
Lets start with the uber official wikipedia definition of what social media marketing is.
“Social media marketing is a term that describes the act of using social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other collaborative Internet form of media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.”
So, when your client asks for more sales, and you tell them you’re going to use social media marketing as a way to make that happen, what are you actually saying? You have got to be clear as day. You’re going to create 30 viral youtube videos that drive X amount of traffic resulting in X amount of links, bringing your rankings up 20 spot and sales up by 400%? Or, are you going to use a power tweet account to build brand recognition and quality links to internally produced content and other media? With the almost perpetual advent of new social networks with popularity increasing on some and decreasing on others, where should you bring your clients website to be social? A celebrity blog on reedit? Probably not. A techno-nerd blog on digg? If the content marries the social characteristics of the community, then give it a go. If not, search for a more targeted venue.
Myth Numero Ocho: “Buying Non-Unique Content or Copying Content From Article Databases is Smart”
A successful blog can do wonders for a business online. But its got to be original, unique to your website and consistent. Blogging can do two very important things for your website and business, the first being an instant way to communicate with your constituents, customers, vendors, investor or anyone who has a stake/interest in what your business does. These people can begin to or even continue building a relationship with you without taking up a huge amount of time so in a sense, blogging is realtime public relations. Blogging can also have the power to build very relevant, fresh links that will help your site rise the rankings as your authority becomes stronger online. So, no matter if you’re selling widgets or cupcakes, it’s always positive to keep a blog.
Myth Numero Nueve: “I’m going to cut long term costs by buying all of the necessary links.”
Like the millions of other people on the internet looking to cut corners and get rich quick, Google knows who you they are and if you engage in the activity, in that fashion, you will be found out too – and most likely penalized. So, don’t do it. Build real, quality links to content that is worth while to the consumer and the search engine alike.
Myth Numero Diez: “I Have Someone Who Will Get my Website to #1 for $299″
Really? Thats Interesting. You are buying into the rubbish that someone can get you valuable rankings in less than a days work? They are either lying to you to get your business or you’re asking for your website to be ranked for weak terms in a non-competitive niche. The truth of the matter is that no matter the source, the volume of work in getting anything ranked number one for nearly any term can’t be done for that rate. Read the fine print, check their references and ask questions if you don’t understand the proposal.